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Smitherman Gives Strongest Hint Yet He Wants Miller’s Chair

George Smitherman has given his strongest hint yet that he’s after David Miller’s job.

The current Ontario Energy Minister is gunning for the top spot in Toronto politics and on Tuesday, he made his intentions all but crystal clear.

Timing is everything, he said at a press conference, and for Smitherman, that time might be 2010.

He said that he will let everyone know whether he intends to run for mayor sometime next year.

He had previously denied rumours that he was interested in the position.

That would leave the province without a key cabinet minister, and Premier Dalton McGuinty without one of his strongest supporters.

Smitherman said that there is a growing consensus in Toronto about the need for change, a fact underscored by recent polls that suggest Miller’s support is at an all-time low.

The once union-friendly Miller received widespread criticism for his handling of the summer’s six-week-long civic worker strike and for the first time during his run as mayor was not invited to take part in the Labour Day Parade.

For his part, Smitherman adds he’s in talks with former Ontario Conservative boss John Tory to ensure there is only one candidate to take on Miller.

He said he also believes he can raise more money than any other serious contender. The municipal election is 14 months away.